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Iran's New Revolutionary Moment
Articles - August 9, 2018
 

Thirteen years ago, as the Bush administration and its "freedom agenda" entered its second term in office, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman took the pulse of popular sentiment in Iran, and came away with some surprising conclusions. Iran, Friedman heard from Iranian expatriates and regime insiders, was the ultimate "red state," where the population did not share the ruling regime's hatred of the West and where people craved greater freedom and democracy.

 
Can Iran Wait Out Trump's Pressure Campaign?
Articles - August 8, 2018
 

U.S. foreign policy toward Iran is approaching a "back to the future" moment, with the Trump White House resurrecting the strategy pursued by President George W. Bush (and, for a while, President Barack Obama) of pressuring Iran economically into abandoning its nuclear pursuits.

 
The Economic Roots Of Iran's Unrest
Articles - July 6, 2018
 

The fresh outbreaks of street protests in Tehran that have taken place in recent days raise the question of whether this will be just a temporary disturbance or a sign of more significant changes to come.

Last Monday, police in Tehran attacked protesters in front of Iran's parliament, and clashes were reported in other cities. These were reportedly the largest street protests since the ones in 2009 and 2012, and follow similar disturbances in late December and early January.

 
Optimizing America's Outreach Toward Iran
Articles - June 28, 2018
 

America's Iran policy is at a crossroads. In the wake of President Trump's recent decision to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal, his administration has unveiled a new, more muscular approach toward the Islamic Republic. That plan, announced publicly by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on May 21, has garnered extensive scrutiny for its pledge to reimpose economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic for its nuclear and ballistic missile work, and its vow to roll back Iran's extensive influence in Syria.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 187
Bulletins - June 11, 2018
 

Still more environmental woes...;
...prompt a predictable regime response;
Iran and Hezbollah as a hedge;
Iran's Baha'i under fire;
An Iranian hand in Palestinian turmoil;
Losing Iraq

 
This Is Trump's Opportunity To Uncover The Iran-North Korea Connection
Articles - June 8, 2018
 

Does the road to Tehran lead through Singapore? Hopes are high that next week's summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will begin a process leading to the total, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. But North Korea can also play a major role in the broader global effort against nuclear proliferation.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 186
Bulletins - June 6, 2018
 

A renewed Iranian cyberthreat;
Defiant Khamenei doubles down on "resistance";
Mapping Iran's Syrian footprint

 
When It Comes To Iran, America Is Still Running The Show
Articles - June 6, 2018
 

When President Trump announced last month that America would leave the global nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose U.S. sanctions, Europe's leaders vowed to create financial mechanisms that would enable their firms to do business with Tehran and protect them from U.S. financial retaliation.

 
New Report: Iran's Influence In Syria Far Broader Than Commonly Understood
Articles - May 31, 2018
 

Just how deep does Iran's influence run in Syria? After a half decade of overt and covert Iranian military assistance to the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the Iranian regime is widely understood to be playing a key role in the Syrian theater. But, according to a new study from the Omran Center for Strategic Studies, an Istanbul-based think tank focused on the Syrian conflict, this backing is far broader than commonly understood, and encompasses not just military assistance but also an extensive web of economic and political contacts that are designed to give the Iranian regime a lasting presence on the territory of its top regional ally.

 
The End Of The JCPOA Era
Articles - May 10, 2018
 

It's official: the Iran nuclear deal is dead.

On May 8th, in a nationally televised address, President Trump announced that his administration was withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). By doing so, the White House has effectively killed the signature foreign policy achievement of the Obama era.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 185
Bulletins - May 9, 2018
 

U.S. policy: Back to sanctions...;
...and plans for a broader strategy;
Meanwhile in Iran, official anger...;
...and grassroots ferment

 
America Needs A New Iran Deal
Articles - May 3, 2018
 

On Monday, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu dramatically unveiled records detailing "Project Amad," Iran's "comprehensive program to design, build, and test nuclear weapons." The information was taken from 100,000 pages of documents Israel had secretly obtained in January from a warehouse in Tehran. The records do not deal with ongoing aspects of Iran's nuclear program - Project Amad was suspended in 2003 - but they do show that Tehran had been lying about the program's peaceful intent. They also reveal how far Iran has gotten in planning and development of nuclear weapons, and how quickly such a program could be reconstituted - assuming work is not already continuing under the weak verification regime of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

 
The Iran Deal Is Dead. Now What?
Articles - April 24, 2018
 

These days, it's increasingly clear that the Iran nuclear deal is on life support.

For much of the past year, opinion within the Trump administration has been more or less evenly divided between those who support preserving the 2015 agreement (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) with some modifications, and those - including the president himself - who advocate its outright annulment. But no longer. Recent staffing changes at the upper echelons of the administration have swung the pendulum decisively in favor of Donald Trump "nixing" the agreement at the earliest possible opportunity.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 184
Bulletins - April 6, 2018
 

The Islamic Republic's war on women;
A kinder, gentler gulf posture?;
Mismanagement adds to Iran's water woes;
A different kind of insurance policy;
Iran's increasingly rickety rial

 
An Emerging Arab-Israeli Thaw
Articles - April 4, 2018
 

A tectonic shift is taking place in Middle East politics. We may be on the verge of seeing a historic normalization of relations between Israel and several major Arab states. And it is all thanks to Iran.

 
America Has A Plan To Dismantle The Iran Deal; Now It Needs One For The Aftermath
Articles - March 27, 2018
 

With President Trump's pick of John Bolton as National Security Advisor raising the chances of a U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Washington must be ready in its aftermath to pursue a bold, broad, and effective strategy to restrain Tehran's nuclear dreams and hegemonic ambitions.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 183
Bulletins - March 2, 2018
 

Iran's persistent headscarf protests;
A public rebuke to Rouhani;
The Islamic Republic's complicated approach to cryptocurrency;
Soleimani's star rises

 
Global Islamism Monitor - No. 50
Bulletins - February 26, 2018
 

Responding to the PA's terrorism racket;
Pakistan's tactical counterterrorism;
How Israel helped thwart an ISIS airline plot;
Squeezed in Iraq and Syria, ISIS heads east

 
Rocketing Toward War?
Articles - February 20, 2018
 

Military skirmishes and escalating threats between Iran and Israel of late are raising the risks of a catastrophic regional war, prompting questions about what the United States should do to prevent it.

To date, President Donald Trump has focused more attention on defeating the Islamic State group in Syria than on preventing Iran from filling the resulting void with its own military and proxy forces and, in the process, further implanting itself in Syria as part of its quest for a land corridor all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

 
Iran's Uprising Pits The Country's Old Rulers Against Its Young Citizens
Articles - February 9, 2018
 

Last month, with mass protests underway on the streets of Tehran and other cities, one of Iran's most senior clerics inadvertently sparked an altogether different sort of international incident.

On January 8, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, one of the country's most powerful officials and a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, traveled to Germany to receive medical treatment amid rumors of failing health. The visit prompted outrage from human-rights activists, and German authorities — under growing pressure from watchdog groups — contemplated bringing charges against Shahroudi for "crimes against humanity" for his role in directing the imprisonment and torture of numerous opponents of the Iranian regime. The sixty-nine-year-old jurist ultimately decided to flee the Federal Republic in order to avoid the fallout.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 182
Bulletins - February 5, 2018
 

The question of Khamenei's legitimacy;
Using Moscow to hedge against Washington;
Iraq's militias look to Iran

 

 
Iran Strategy Brief No. 10: Iran's Burgeoning Strategic Forces
Policy Papers - February 5, 2018
 
Among the Islamic Republic of Iran’s central strategic goals are the preservation of its political regime and its ascension to what it views as its rightful place as the regional hegemon of the Middle East. These objectives have put Iran on an adversarial footing with its immediate neighbors, and with much of the international community. 
 
A New Approach To Iran
Articles - January 17, 2018
 

The recent protests in Iran may be petering out, but the White House is ramping up its response to them. Last week, in tandem with his most recent decision to prolong the controversial 2015 Iran nuclear deal for another three months, President Trump opened a new front against the Islamic Republic by levying fresh human rights sanctions on a number of key regime figures and institutions.

 
What To Watch For In Iran's Turmoil
Articles - January 8, 2018
 

Will Iran's pro-democracy protests last? As the uprisings that have unexpectedly swept across the Islamic Republic approach their second full week, that's the question on the mind of policymakers in Washington.

 
Trump's foreign policy pattern is all bark and no bite
Articles - January 8, 2018
 

Recent foreign policy moves by the Trump administration disclose a pattern of thought and action that merits being seen in its totality. Towards the end of 2017 the administration released a vigorous national security strategy that not only labeled China and Russia as adversaries but also “took no prisoners” in asserting that the U.S. would act vigorously against challenges.

 
How Washington Can Influence The Outcome Of Protests In Iran
Articles - January 4, 2018
 

These are heady days in Iran. For more than a week now, thousands of Iranians have rallied publicly against their government, demanding accountability, transparency and an end to the repressive clerical status quo. In the process, they have presented Iran's radical theocratic regime with one of the most profound challenges to its authority since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

 
How To Support The Second 'Persian Spring'
Articles - January 2, 2018
 

Could we see a new Iranian revolution in 2018? For nearly a week now, tens of thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in various cities throughout the Islamic Republic in the largest mass demonstrations of their kind in nearly a decade. In the process, they have raised the tantalizing possibility that we might in fact be witnessing a second "Persian Spring."

 
Expect 2018 to be a year of living dangerously as global tensions rise
Articles - January 2, 2018
 

Anyone hoping to leave the turbulence of 2017 in the past will be in for a rude awakening. While we can’t know for certain what will unfold in the year to come, observable trends in several countries, including the U.S., give us a glimpse of what to expect in 2018.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 181
Bulletins - December 28, 2017
 

Iran's increasingly blue-water navy;
China expanses its economic footprint in Iran;
Exporting the Basij model;
Iranian cultural censorship goes global

 
What Trump's New Strategy Means For The Middle East
Articles - December 21, 2017
 

Earlier this week, in a major address in Washington, DC, President Donald Trump formally unveiled his administration-s new national security strategy. That document - the first of its kind since 2015 - lays out a compelling and fundamentally different vision of American security from the one that dominated during the Obama era.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 180
Bulletins - November 27, 2017
 

Iran's Afghan "Volunteers";
Khatami under fire...;
...while Larijani jockeys for position;
Iran continues its illicit procurement;
A helping hand from Moscow

 
President Trump Takes A Wise Middle Course On The Iran Nuclear Deal
Articles - October 20, 2017
 

In his policy speech last Friday, President Trump did not scrap the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, as some prominent conservative thinkers had suggested he should. Nor did he simply leave the deal intact, as proponents of the agreement had previously counseled. Instead, the president charted a middle way intended to give America greater leverage over Iran's nuclear program and processes.

 
Iran Strategy Brief No. 9: Targeting Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Policy Papers - October 19, 2017
 

The passage this summer of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a wide-ranging legislative package that imposed new economic pressure on Russia, Iran and North Korea, reignited the debate over U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic. The relevant provisions of the Act require the White House, pursuant to Executive Order No. 13224, to formally designate the totality of Iran’s clerical army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), as a terrorist organization by no later than October 31st of this year. In his October 13th speech on Iran policy, President Trump confirmed that he will do so...

 
Trump Takes Aim At The IRGC
Articles - October 18, 2017
 

You wouldn't know it from the media coverage surrounding President Trump's October 13th speech on Iran, but the most notable element of the Administration's new, "comprehensive" strategy toward the Islamic Republic isn't its plan to revisit the 2015 nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 179
Bulletins - October 9, 2017
 

Facing hard time in Tehran;
How Iran intimidates international media;
The Islamic Republic's child brides;
A broader stake in Syria

 
Defending The Indefensible
Articles - October 3, 2017
 

Like an all-too-proud father rejecting a teacher's legitimate criticism of his child, former Secretary of State John Kerry is defending the U.S.-led global nuclear agreement with Iran that he engineered from the legitimate concerns of Iran-watchers in the Trump administration, Congress and the private sector.

 
Why Trump Will Not Allow The Iran Deal To Stand
Articles - September 29, 2017
 

Those who support the Obama administration's landmark nuclear deal with Iran are nervous, and for good reason. In his Sept. 19 address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump gave what was perhaps the clearest signal to date that he has no plans to recertify the agreement (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) next month, as mandated by Congress.

 
Common Cause Against The Kurds
Articles - August 30, 2017
 

An odd partnership is taking shape in the Middle East, where Iran and Turkey - two countries that have historically been strategic competitors - are suddenly making common cause.

 
Global Islamism Monitor - No. 43
Bulletins - August 28, 2017
 

China's next Target: The Uyghur language;
Britain bars ISIS returnees...;
...as Tajikistan tries a different tack;
The Islamic State's Russian orphans

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 177
Bulletins - August 21, 2017
 

The Islamic Republic versus the BBC
With an eye on the Kurds, Turkey and Iran tighten ties;
A defiant Majles doubles down

 
Beware Iran's Jihadi Legion
Articles - August 14, 2017
 

Today, the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group has become a top strategic priority of the United States and its allies in the region. In turn, the efforts of Washington and Middle Eastern partners have begun to pay real dividends, with recent months seeing a significant rollback the group's self-declared "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria. But lurking in the background of the current counterterrorism fight is another, and potentially even more significant, long-term threat.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 176
Bulletins - August 14, 2017
 

In Ankara, fears of the Islamic Republic;
Iran expands role in Iraqi security;
An Iran-Latin America coverup;
A looming hydrological crisis;
Iran's clandestine nuclear quest

 
Still A Bad Deal
Articles - July 18, 2017
 

Last Friday marked the two-year anniversary of the Obama administration's signature foreign policy achievement: the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, that agreement was intended as a solution to Iran's persistent nuclear ambitions, and as a vehicle to reboot the Iranian regime's relationship with the world.

 
Iran Raises The Stakes
Articles - July 11, 2017
 

With America's global attention largely focused elsewhere, Iran continues to expand its military capabilities - legally and otherwise - forcing the question of what Washington and its regional allies plan to do about it.

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 175
Bulletins - June 16, 2017
 

ISIS targets the Islamic Republic;
Iran's war on dance;
A helping hand from Moscow
Why Israel fears Iran's role in Syria

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 174
Bulletins - May 31, 2017
 

For Rouhani, four more years...;
...and a more defiant attitude;
Iran and Hamas: Bosom buddies once more;
A wider role in Syria;
Female power in Baluchistan

 
The JCPOA Helps Iran's Elites And Hurts Rouhani
Articles - March 29, 2017
 

These are hard times for Hassan Rouhani. With fewer than two months to go until Iran's next national election, currently scheduled to take place on May 19, the long knives are out for the soft-spoken cleric who serves as the country's president. 

 
Iran Emboldened
Articles - March 21, 2017
 

Tehran's new threat to ignore a key plank of the U.S.-led global nuclear agreement offers a timely reminder that, no matter what happens with Iran's upcoming presidential election, the regime is, and will remain, just as dangerous as it's ever been. It also hammers another nail in the coffin of the idea – so cherished by the last administration – that the 2015 deal, with its hundreds of billions in sanctions relief for Iran, would moderate the regime and spur a broader rapprochement between the Islamic Republic and the West. 

 
A Refreshing Change At The U.N.
Articles - March 7, 2017
 

Trump administration deliberations about whether the United States should quit the United Nations' Human Rights Council over its anti-Israel obsession reflect a welcome new U.S. approach to Turtle Bay. 

 
Iran Democracy Monitor - No. 173
Bulletins - March 3, 2017
 

A political dark horse rises;
A route to regional energy dominance;
The debate over IRGC designation...;
...and movement toward an anti-Iranian bloc;
That enduring Russo-Iranian alliance